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UndertheDog

YOUNG JAPAN: Looking Westward – The Kickstarter Phenomenon

JEREMIAH FAJARDO WRITES – From potato salad to Oscar nominated films, the popular crowd-funding site Kickstarter has been at the forefront of rethinking project funding. Surprisingly, some of the most successful campaigns have come from Japan’s risk-averse entertainment industry. The time for change has come and it’s in the hands of the fans. Before Kickstarter, […]

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JAPAN: Will Sell Body for Education

LEXIE TUCKER WRITES – Paying for college isn’t easy. Either you were lucky enough to have parents who started saving from the time you were born, or you’re forced to take out loans in ungodly amounts to help fund your outrageously expensive education. Of course, part-time jobs are an option. You may find work at a […]

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Historian Ikuhiko Hata.

JAPAN: Revealing the Facts or Covering Tracks?

LEXIE TUCKER WRITES – Retracting a story is a bold move in the field of journalism and tends to suggest a lack of research. On August 5, The Asahi Shinbun decided to retract not one story, but all stories that included a quote made by a Japanese man who claimed to have kidnapped and forced […]

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CHINA and JAPAN: An Explosion of Disrespectful Proportions

LEXIE TUCKER WRITES – When a grudge is held between two countries, what sort of action is considered “crossing the line?” On July 3, the Chinese paper The Chongqing Youth News published a map of Japan with cartoony drawings of atomic mushroom clouds over Hiroshima and Nagasaki along with a headline stating “Japan wants a […]

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LOS ANGELES: A Stellar Showcasing of Soft Power

JEREMIAH FAJARDO WRITES – Despite lengthy lines and oppressive heat, L.A.’s annual Anime Expo broke its previous attendance records, embodying the growth and impact of Japan’s pop-culture diplomacy. Each Independence Day weekend thousands of passionate fans descend upon Southern California for North America’s largest convention for all things related to Japanese pop-culture. This year, for […]

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CHINA and JAPAN: Will the truth set them free?

LEXIE TUCKER WRITES – The past continues to haunt Japan for its treatment of Chinese “comfort women” before and during World War II. On April 25, the archives in China’s Jilin province released 89 documents that include letters written by Japanese soldiers, newspaper articles, and military files that provide solid evidence of Chinese women being […]

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Q&A with Miss Asia USA Contender Eriko Lee Katayama

MIA MARTIN WRITES – When I first met Eriko Lee Katayama last spring she was a classmate of mine in Professor Plate’s Introduction to Media and Politics of Asia. At the time, I was unaware of the details that make her a one-of-a-kind competitor for this year’s Miss Asia USA 2014, which starts in November. […]

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Hatsune Miku

JAPAN: 21st Century Digital Girl Sings Herself to the Top

LEXIE TUCKER WRITES – Can you say a voice is auto-tuned if the singer isn’t even human? Hatsune Miku has “written” more than 180,000 songs and has a whopping 1.95 million Facebook followers, more than any other Japanese pop star. So what sets her apart from the Lady Gagas and Britney Spearses of the world? […]

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JAPAN: The Yakuza Does Philanthropy?

LEXIE TUCKER WRITES – Organizations looking to publicize usually turn to the Internet. But what if you’re the yakuza? Often considered Japan’s version of the Italian mob, the yakuza feels so misunderstood it has turned to the Net to help tell a more nuanced story. The Yamaguchi-gumi, a branch of the yakuza, recently launched a new […]

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JAPAN: Crimea Controversy Leads to Net Sensation

JEREMIAH FAJARDO WRITES – While some countries snort derisively at Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea, in Japan it’s been love at first sight with the Republic’s new attorney general. In the immediate aftermath of the Russian land grab, a press conference featuring 34-year-old Natalia Poklonskaya went viral — and it wasn’t because of her legal […]

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